SCREAMING LORD SUTCH has been found dead at his home in Harrow. He was 58 and had reportedly been suffering from depression since the death of his mother two years ago.
He fought over 40 elections as leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party and prior to that the National Youth Party and was a familiar sight on the hustings, standing behind whichever grey clad Tory or Labour party hack who had actually won, wearing a leopard skin drape coat and top hat, making a mockery of the process. At least, that was the perception of some in Parliament who changed the laws to stop Sutch – and similar ‘fringe of the fringe’ – candidates from standing in elections by increasing the cost of Parliamentary deposits.
Although he was never a major pop player in the 60s – he was always more famous for being famous – Screaming Lord Sutch‘s band The Savages included Deep Purple‘s Ritchie Blackmore. Sutch plundered his act wholesale from Screaming Jay Hawkins and added a dash of Hammer horror; Blackmore often recalled the indignity of being a serious muso, standing in a West london pub dressed only in a loincloth, trying to keep his mind on playing as Sutch emerged from a coffin and advanced on him with a blood-dripping dagger drawn.
He also teamed up with Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Blackmore and others on the 1969 album ‘Screaming Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends’, which was a pretty dire record, though his early 60s horrorshow rock pre-dated Alice Cooper, The Damned, Marilyn Manson and any number of goth bands by years. But it is as a ‘political buffoon’ that he will be best remembered.
In 1964 Sutch stood for Parliament on behalf of the Teenage Party, National Youth Party, campaigning for votes for 18 year olds and over (at that time the minimum voting age was 21) and launched his pirate radio station Radio Sutch. He also changed his name by deed poll so that returning officers had to call him “Screaming Lord Sutch” when they read out the election results.
Although he never came close to being elected – that was never really the point and he lost thousands in deposits over the past 35 years – he beat the Social Democrats into fourth place in 1990 and frequently hammered the odious National Front into last place.
Loony policies included erecting statues of Buddy Holly in every town in Britain, banning work before lunchtime “because it’s too difficult” and feeding surplus EC milk back to cows, though other ideas – votes for 18 year olds, all day Sunday drinking and pet passports – were taken up by ‘mainstream parties’. With a Loony actually elected Mayor of Ashburston, perhaps their day will come.